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Friday, October 28, 2011

Spook Houses and Murder Mysteries: The Best Halloweens

A chill rain falls from a heavy sky here, a rain with a touch of ice in it and a wind that has moaned since yesterday. The past several nights, the coyotes have prowled the neighborhood, howling and yipping and igniting a primal spookiness as they hunt for food and remind us of how close we really are to the swift finality of death so easily forgotten in our snug, sanitized, secure, modern homes.

On this October night, as I write Friday’s post, the world outside is set nicely for upcoming Halloween. I’m grown now with young children of my own, and Halloween now is more about their enjoyment than mine. Instead of spook houses and parties, we’re carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating, things with their own branch of fun, but it’s a little different.

Since Monday is already slotted for Laurell K. Hamilton’s Guilty Pleasures, I thought we’d do the Halloween post a few days early. So what are some of your favorite Halloween memories? I’ll share a few of mine; then it’ll be your turn.

In the fifth grade, I went to my first spook house with my family and best friend. Now, I’m not one to enjoy getting scared. It happens all too easily, but as a tomboy I was at the time, I refused to come off as the coward in the group. I went through that first building clutching my friend’s hand and trying to prove I was braver than her. Between the people hovering and looming at us, the leering masks, and my overactive imagination, by the end of the house, my friend and I were near frantic to escape. Two turns before the exist, we took off in a panicked run. Before us hung a curtain lit from behind. We assumed it was an exit and dashed right into the wall behind it. We might have made the guy near us all painted white and dressed in black pee his pants as hard as he started laughing.

By the time I reached the venerable age of fourteen, spook houses had become a common part of our Halloween festivities. This time, I went with another friend and dressed as a vampire with fangs, face paint, and a long black cape. The coolest part of this spook house was a section filled with rocks and a pack of werewolves that stalked us as we passed. We had to slip by them to get to the next section. Long past my tendencies to completely lose my head, I strode amongst the werewolves, determined to stare them in the face and not feel a moment’s fear. Then my friend, not nearly so used to spook houses, freaked and latched onto the collar of my cape. Her frightened hand twisted and started choking me. I had two choices, wrestle her off or march through the werewolves as fast as I could so she would no longer have reason to choke me. I opted for the second, thrilled at facing down some very convincing werewolves and escaping with my trachea intact. Filling the protective, tough position was also pretty cool.

When I was fifteen, we held a Halloween party at my house. We purchased a murder mystery game and had tremendous fun dressing up and acting out our parts. Well, I had tremendous fun. I think most of my guy friends more went along. Though they were great sports about it, and I honestly think they had a good time, even if it meant letting me paint their faces, draw Frankenstein stitches on them, and take pictures. I had such a good time playing that I didn’t pay that much attention to the clues and was rather shocked to realize that I was the murderer. Funny, everyone else knew but me.

So how about you? What is your favorite Halloween memory?

1 comment:

  1. My only real Halloween memory was when I went as Roger Rabbit. I was maybe 9-10, and I remember having the tail pinned to my butt and my hair spray-painted. I remember another costume or two, but only as vague concepts. I'm too much of a chicken to really enjoy haunted houses myself.